Chapter 16 of 21 from Samuel L. Jackson

Enriching Your Acting Practice

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Sam encourages you to nurture a sense of curiosity and explore stories set in worlds that you are unfamiliar with, so that you have a more expansive view of the characters you take on throughout your acting career.

Topics include: Actively Observe the World Around You • Read Novels • Learn From Doing Theater • Analyze the Work of Other Actors • Watch Yourself On-Screen

Samuel L. Jackson

Samuel L. Jackson Teaches Acting

One of the most successful actors of our generation teaches you how to elevate your acting.

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Lessons

There are things you can do other than traditionally going to acting school or whatever to make yourself a better actor that are just everyday, common things like, you know, being observant. Let's go sit in the park and watch people. You know, or engage or sit in a restaurant and watch people. Watch people eat. See how people eat. Different people eat different ways. You know, figure that out. Go to museums. Watch people in museums and interact. Or look at paintings of places and situations and, you know, imagine yourself inside that. Wow, yeah, galleries, dance concerts, I mean, go to things that are foreign to you. See what the dynamic is. Go to places where there are people that aren't like you specifically so that you can see who those people are. Look at how they dress. Look at how they carry themselves. Look and how they interact with each other. It's a life of observance so that you can pull something from somewhere. I mean, there are moments when I walk down the street. Or I remember when we were getting ready to do "Negotiator." My hairdresser's sister came to see him. And I looked, and I saw her hair. And I went, that's the hair I want for this movie. And that's the hair I ended up having. I ended up with that red hair because she had it. It's just little things like that that will pop into your head that you think will make your character interesting or change the dynamic of what you're trying to do. I read so much because I just like being outside of my reality, because I have one. I know what it is. I know what I do. You know, if I'm not working, I don't particularly want to just hang out in my world or do the honey-do's all day long. So I escape to another world and hang out with some other people that are doing exciting stuff, or living in a world of intrigue, or sitting and watching a movie from Korea somewhere, doing something, watching other people do what I do, telling a story that's foreign to my experience and wondering how I would be in that situation and figuring that out so when that situation does pop up on a page or somewhere, I have a reference point. Or I have a particular kind of person that I've seen do that thing and remember how that person existed in that dilemma or that situation so that I can apply myself to it. And that's what reading does. It just allows me to expand and figure out who all these people are. There are all these jobs that I'm never gonna do. But I can read about people who do specific kinds of jobs that are foreign to mine and learn something about them. And if I get a job, and somebody wants me to be a carpenter, then I can remember a movie that I've seen about a carpenter or a story that I read about a carpenter. Or I can pick up a book and read something about a carpenter and figure out what carpenters do. Carpenters, like everybody else, yeah, I build furniture, but my life is this. So I do this. I might be a carpenter, but I kill people, you know,...

Get into Character

As a kid, Samuel L. Jackson stuttered so badly that he stopped talking for almost a year. Today he’s one of the world’s most successful actors, with roles in over 100 films, including Pulp Fiction and The Avengers. For the first time, the Oscar nominated star teaches how he creates memorable characters, powerful performances, and a long-lasting career. Learn to master auditions, analyze scripts, and find the truth in every role you play.

Watch, listen, and learn as Sam teaches his first-ever acting class.

A downloadable workbook accompanies the class with lesson recaps, assignments, and supplemental material.

Upload videos to get feedback from the class. Sam will also answer select student questions.

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Samuel L. Jackson

Samuel L. Jackson Teaches Acting